Monday, November 05, 2007

Artist Incognito

"Odd One Out" ACEO can be bid on here.
Copyright Rita Woodburne

"Good as Gold" ACEO can be bid on here.
Copyright Rita Woodburne

So I’m finally back to art posting...and the joys of being unknown.
I should really say that it’s the joy of being un-recognized in public situations. I’ve had my work in a few local juried shows and I now have my work hanging in the Quinte Arts Council gallery for the months of November and December. Last Thursday was the opening and I went...and listened.

I have to admit that I derive a certain amount of delight from being able to watch people look at my work and then hear what they say about my work while being completely oblivious to the fact that the artist is standing 2 feet from them. It’s like being a spy, but without the hiding, wire-taps and Mission Impossible theme music playing in my head.
I got to hear what they were drawn to, what their initial impressions were of my work and if there was anything that threw them for a loop. It’s the most honest form of critiquing that one can get because the person doing the crits isn’t worried about hurting the artists feelings and on the flip side of that (for me) I don't completely feel like I'm being critiqued anyway because it's really just people talking about my art. It's a win-win situation, and ya gotta love that.

The downside to this super sleuthing way of finding out what people really think about your art is that you can't then go up to them and ask why they felt that way about your art. I suppose you could, but more than likely they would instantly become self-conscious/ more calculated about what they decided to say next...because they wouldn't want to offend the artist. It's a shame really because everyone, whether they're well schooled in art or not, has a valuable opinion and more than likely could contribute some constructive thought that would help the artist develop further.

For the artists out there if you ever get the chance to do this I highly recommend it if you can take having people say brutally honest things about your work (and 'brutally' doesn't necessarily mean 'bad'). It's a great kick in the pants and can really open your eyes up to things that perhaps you didn't even see in your work. So with that in mind, until Wednesday, keep on art-ing!


Jennifer Rose said...

Love "odd One Out" :D Very cute

It is really good to hear an honest opinion about your art but you are right, as soon as people know that you are the artist they try to be as nice as they can. It doesn't help an artist grow to just hear good things about their art, a good honest critique can help an artist tenfold, even if it is full of negative things an artist doesn't want to hear.

In highschool we used to have the other students in class critique random pieces without knowing who had done them. More often than not it was very helpful. Of course when a person's style was easily recognizable people were a little less harsh.

Rita said...

Thanks Jennifer!

I always find it funny that people tend to be a little less honest when they're actually talking to the artist who, more often than not, wants the honest crits so they can get better. Oh, the irony...

Meg Lyman said...

Wow, that's a great idea! I'd feel really sneaky and nervous. Just think of the embarassment if you got caught! But you could train someone to spy *for* you...

Seriously, I'm going to try that at my show this weekend. :D

Rita said...

Go for it Meg! Just make sure when you do it that you don't have someone else "looking after" your booth for you, otherwise folks think that person is the artist and they still hold back.

Good luck at your show this week-end!